One of the biggest music festivals scheduled for the Cowichan Valley in 2020 officially pulled the plug Monday, April 20, due to provincial restrictions around the COVID-19 virus.
The Cowichan Folk Guild announced the cancellation of the Islands Folk Festival that was to take place this July at Providence Farm with regret, but said they stand behind the provincial government’s decision to ban any and all large gatherings this summer to try to prevent further spread of the global pandemic.
“Dr. Bonnie Henry has made an official announcement that no festivals or large gatherings will take place over the summer in B.C. this year,” said Artistic Director Andrew Brown in a press release.
“We were hopeful that the festival would still take place during the early stages of the quarantine, but it soon became apparent that there would be serious implications at play as time went on. While we are disappointed, we stand behind the government’s decision that was made using scientific data and expert consultations. Many of our festival attendees are in vulnerable groups, and it is imperative we keep all of our patrons, artists, and volunteers safe.”
All tickets and camping passes for the 2020 festival will be honoured for the 2021 festival the release said.
“We have been asked a few times already if we will accept this year’s ticket payment as a donation to the guild to assist us with operating costs, and we will be more than grateful to accept those offers,” Brown said. “The festival is our main source of revenue for the year, and we will be exploring ways to minimize the impact we will be feeling, but guarantee we will be back next year with smiles and gratitude to everyone who takes part in our festival.”
He said they are working to try to make sure as many of the artists who were to be in the lineup this year will roll over into next summer instead.
“Now more than ever, musicians, artists, and promoters/crews need our support, as the means to make their living will be on hold for a fair amount of time,” Brown pointed out. “Please consider purchasing albums and merchandise directly from your favourite musicians, and be sure to take in several of the live streams many artists are hosting.
“The Cowichan Folk Guild is dedicated to providing live music to our community and are considering different ways to do something special the weekend of the festival that you will be able to tune into, so keep an eye out for that. As always, our gratitude goes out to everyone who helps make our festival so special. See you all soon!”